Steve, Andrew, Audrey & Gayle (left to right)
Lems Shoes' philosophy is simple - less is more. Instead of spending time trying to develop the next footwear fad, we dedicate ourselves to creating sustainable shoes that consider the foot above all else. All of our products are flat, flexible, and fit the natural shape of the human foot. Through such design focus our shoes emphasize proper fit, comfort and functionality without unnecessary material or marketing gimmicks and that will never change.
We are a small American-run company, 100% family owned. We have no shareholders and no board of directors. We have no procedures and no standards that need to be followed. Our decisions are based on doing what is right, not by what is most profitable. We listen to our customer’s feedback. We are driven by your positive reviews. We find satisfaction in your personal testimonies. It is you, the people, not some large corporation that makes Lems Shoes’ vision a reality. Your voice matters, so please share it with us.
After years of searching, I had almost given up on finding the ideal shoe I was looking for. To me it was simple - shoes should be flat and fit the natural shape of the foot, while allowing unrestricted movement. In 2008, with no prior experience, I took the initiative to learn the process of shoe development from initial sketch to final product. My journey began by taking a position at a local shoe store, where I learned to analyze gait and properly fit different foot shapes.
In my spare time, I dissected and studied hundreds of shoes by cutting them in half with a carpenter’s knife in order to learn their construction. My family and friends thought I had gone mad; using all of my hard-earned money to buy shoes, for no other reason than to cut them into pieces. However, for me, this was a time when I was extremely focused and dedicated to something I was truly passionate about. It was the start of an overwhelming obsession with footwear and more importantly the human foot.
After coming to the firm understanding that major shoe companies were completely wrong, I realized it was time for someone to set things right. The big shoe brands had somehow forgotten that shoes should be built around the human foot - widest at the forefoot and toes - and they should allow for full flexibility and movement. Up until then no one had ever set out to do what I wished to accomplish and it was my constant dedication to my dream that kept my desire burning.
I decided that in order to create my ideal shoe, I needed to start from the ground up. The process began by taking all that I had learned about fitting feet to design a shoe last that mimicked the shape of the human foot; a foot that had not been marred by years of wearing poorly fitting footwear. After the shoe last was complete, I learned the remaining development processes from pattern-making to mold making. From there my attention needed to change from production to other facets of a business - from importing, to website design, to brand awareness.
Finally, after 3 long years of research, countless hours of design, and dozens of prototypes my unwavering focus paid off and Lems Shoes released its’ first product (the Primal) in September of 2011. Since that time, we have been able to accomplish so much as a company, but no matter how far we come, my focus will always be to design proper footwear that encourages healthy foot development. I am excited to see our company grow, but at a pace that is right for us, so we can continue to focus on employee and customer happiness. Someday, I hope to look back and say, “We did something to better the world and we did it with principle.”
-Andrew Rademacher (Founder of Lems Shoes)